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Genetic and Environmental Influences on Perceptions of Self-Worth and Competence in Adolescence: A Study of Twins, Full Siblings, and Step-Siblings

Shirley McGuire, Jenae M. Neiderhiser, David Reiss, E. Mavis Hetherington and Robert Plomin
Child Development
Vol. 65, No. 3 (Jun., 1994), pp. 785-799
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1131418
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1131418
Page Count: 15
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Genetic and Environmental Influences on Perceptions of Self-Worth and Competence in Adolescence: A Study of Twins, Full Siblings, and Step-Siblings
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Abstract

Although it is generally assumed that the origins of adolescents' perceptions of self-competence lie in shared family environmental influences, the contributions of nonshared environmental or genetic influences have not been explored. We investigated sibling resemblance for perceived competence and self-worth in 720 adolescent pairs aged 10 to 18 years, using a twin, full sibling, and step-sibling design. Our goals were to assess the magnitude of shared and nonshared environmental influences and to disentangle resemblance due to shared genetic heritage from that due to shared environmental experiences. Shared environment was not significant for any of the scales. 4 of the subscales showed significant genetic influence: scholastic, social, physical, and athletic competence. We also explored possible sources of genetic influences on perceived competence. Bivariate models revealed common genetic variance between scholastic competence and vocabulary and social competence and sociability. These measures, however, did not account for all of the genetic variance in perceived social and scholastic competence.

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